WITH the Cineworld on the Greyhound Retail Park being closed down to make way for a new 24-hour supermarket Chester lost its only cinema, but recent developments in a new cinema complex show that this is nothing to sulk over.
Chester’s Town Hall’s Palatine Room on Tuesday, December 10 held the One City Plan (OCP) drop-in event where Chester’s iconic cultural theatre, library and cinema complex plans took centre stage.
Following the successful introduction at last months session, they announced that work had begun on the City’s exciting new £37.5m complex expected to open in 2016, and its latest developments.
The project plans are in place and the first stage was to demolish the adjacent Commerce House which is now underway, with completion scheduled for May.
The world renown architects behind the project were announced in October as one of the UK’s leading architectural practices, Bennetts Associates. To which Councillor Stuart Parker, Executive Member for Culture and Economy said: “We have signed up a truly world-class double act to deliver a new cultural heart for Chester. This new iconic building will be central to our local economy.”
The Bennetts are responsible for such designs as the Stirling Prize shortlisted transformation of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, and the new Hampstead Theatre in London.
The builders will be Kier Construction a company who have delivered cultural developments such as the Llandudno Theatre and the restoration and extension of Liverpool’s Blue Coat Arts Centre.
The former Grade II listed Odeon building will be transformed into a 120 seat cinema that will echo the 1930’s period inspired by the work of the founder of Odeon, Oscar Deutsch.
A modern city library will sit at the heart of the public spaces, including working study spaces and a café. These will all linked by open foyer spaces to a new building which will house the 800-seat theatre.
We asked what the people of Chester thought of these new developments.
Tom Smith, 26, Banker said: “It would be good to have a cinema because there isn’t always enough entertainment in the city centre. You have to travel to Liverpool or Cheshire Oaks. It will also bring a bit more contemporary culture to Chester and create new jobs, especially for students.”
Amanda Jones, 30, Teacher said: “It will bring a wider range of activity to people of all ages and fun for all the family. It might cause more pollution and congestion around Chester, but I guess if you lived here you’d walk.”
Martha Thomas, 55, Housewife: “Really good to have something different to do. Will bring more people into Chester. It will be quite good if there are day time activities for people my age, but I hope they create some parking.”
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Chester Intelligencer Reporter Tabatha Lewis.